Welcome to my Blog about Food and Well-being!

I am often asked to share my knowledge of food and recipes. After changing my diet four years ago from a typical "Western" diet to a mostly whole-foods and plant-based diet, I have seen incredible changes in my health and well-being. I have spent countless hours researching and love helping those who are ready to feel better. The underlying theme? YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Read on to find out more.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Is Animal Protein Okay?

Yes, animal protein can be okay, however in excess, it can be extremely difficult for your body to digest, metabolize and excrete. Diets rich in animal protein tend to cause diseases/ailments such as heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, constipation, acid reflux, sleep disorders, indigestion, gas and bloating, gout and certain cancers (especially colon and stomach). But that's not the whole story.

I could go on for pages about everything I've read about animal protein, but I've come to a recent revelation just using common sense and a little research. Every body needs different amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and calories. Your ratio is different from mine, so it's up to you to find the balance that makes you feel the best. Most doctors and nutritionists would agree that vegetables and other plant-based foods should be the dominant food group in your diet, not just a small side dish.

Eating a whole foods diet, what this blog encourages most, is about eating CLEAN, WHOLE foods found in nature and not messed with in a factory. Clean means knowing where your food came from, eating non-processed food found in nature, and eating organic when possible. 

Recently, the news reported on a study that found organic foods "have no significant health benefits over conventionally-grown foods." (See Article) Most people I know don't eat organic foods because they think it has MORE nutritional value. Most eat organic because they believe it has FEWER chemicals added to them. It's what's in and on the conventionally-grown food that scares us and I don't trust the government to tell me what's an acceptable level of pesticide residue.

The same goes for animal protein. Eat clean animals. Eat animals that were treated humanely and fed a diet native to their digestive tracts (cows that were fed grass, salmon that wasn't fed food-colored pellets to turn their meat pink). Eat animals that weren't loaded with antibiotics and hormones, and stuffed into small pens with thousands of other animals, some of which were diseased and dying. No thanks. If I'm going to eat an animal, I want that animal to have been healthy.

I eat mostly plant-based food, but have found that small amounts of high-quality meats, cheeses and eggs occasionally are just fine. They give me protein, B12, calcium, and iron. It might include deer from our family ranch, fish my husband caught at the coast, wild Alaskan salmon (not farm raised), goat cheeses and yogurts (easier to digest than cow dairy and cleaner animals, in general), and organic eggs from a local farm. If I were to buy chicken, it would ideally be from a local source (found at farmer's markets) and at the very least, organic free-range.

Other wonderful sources of protein can be found in plant products. Beans of all kinds, grains, tempeh, tofu (only a few times a month since it's so processed), veggie smoothies with rice/pea protein, nuts and seeds, nut butters, and even veggies contain plenty of protein. 

Check out my Recipes page to find great meat-free recipes that will satisfy your protein needs.
And take a look at my new Resources page to find links to great info and products!

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